Spring is the time of year when ticks come out of hibernation & look for food. For them, blood is the perfect meal and humans are the perfect prey.
Long pants, duct tape and spray that contains DEET or Permethrin are your best weapons to fight ticks.
"They like brush, like logs & fields, anywhere where they can hang out & keep moist," says Gail Sheffer, organizer of the York Lyme Disease Support Group.
Some ticks carry Lyme Disease and out of all 50 states, Pennsylvania is number one with the highest number of reported Lyme cases. With Lyme, comes a myriad of symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue and headache.
Ticks that carry Lyme pass the disease to humans and animals by biting & attaching themselves to the skin. They feed on blood and pass their bacteria into the bloodstream.
The longer a tick is attached to your body, the greater your chance of developing Lyme Disease. Transmission usually occurs between 36 and 48 hours after attachment; that's why checking yourself and your children from head to toe is crucial.
"With children, they very commonly will crawl up and we'll find them on the back of their ears, that is where they're trying to get to," says Dr. Richard Daly, who has a Family & Sports Medicine Practice in York.
Dr. Daly continues, "In adults, they'll usually be at the belt line, sometimes at the joint of the knee or bra strap and that's usually where they'll feed."
Sometimes feeling for the ticks is more effective than just looking. The adult tick is about the size of a sesame seed, the nymph is the size of a poppy seed.
Dr. Daly says if you know you're going to be outside for a prolonged amount of time, in tick prone areas, plan ahead. Here are some steps you can take:
1. Wear long pants & tuck them into your socks, this prevents ticks from getting onto your skin.
2. Use duct tape to secure your pants to your socks to close any gaps.
3. Spray your clothing with a product that contains DEET or Permethrin.
"If you prevent them from getting under your pants and you've treated your pants, then the chemical spray kills the tick on your pants and they never get you," Dr. Daly says.
That's especially important for people who work outdoors like surveyors, farmers, even hunters.
If a tick is attached to you, don't panic. Use tweezers to remove it at the head, clean the area, and put the tick in alcohol to kill it. If you can't get it out, seek medical attention immediately.